Mohammad Javad Zarif said American troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan will be a positive step.
“That US forces will finally pull out of Afghanistan is a positive move, and the Taliban should not cash in on this opportunity to stoke violence,” said Zarif in a webinar at the Raisina Dialogue held in New Delhi attended by Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib and his Indian counterpart.
Zarif added Iran welcomes US forces’ “responsible withdrawal” from Afghanistan and believes the presence of foreign troops has never contributed to security in Afghanistan and the whole region.
The top Iranian diplomat added the Taliban should take the opportunity and immediately kick off serious negotiations with the Afghan government.
“The Taliban cannot bide its time to see a vacuum created in order to take advantage of it and see Afghanistan plunge into civil war,” said Zarif.
“The Taliban can be part of the trend of talks, but cannot take control of it,” the top diplomat noted.
Mohib, in turn, said at the virtual meeting that it is the best opportunity now for Afghans to take responsibility for the security of their country.
“Now it is the best chance for peace,” the Afghan national security advisor said.
He underlined Afghanistan’s peace process should take all Taliban groups on board and “none of them should be left out.”